A Fire Upon The Deep

, #1

Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages

English language

Published Feb. 15, 1993 by Tor Science Fiction.

ISBN:
978-0-8125-1528-2
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
221602076

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4 stars (16 reviews)

Thousands of years in the future, humanity is no longer alone in a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures, and technology, can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.

Fleeing this galactic threat, Ravna crash lands on a strange world with a ship-hold full of cryogenically frozen children, the only survivors from a destroyed space-lab. They are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle.

12 editions

reviewed A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge (Zones of Thought, #1)

Review of 'A Fire Upon The Deep' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This was an influential novel at the time it came out for the ideas it advanced and the huge contours on which it painted its story. For much of it, the focus is split between the galactic view of a Blight that threatened enormous stretches of space reaching down from the Transcend and the one planet where a family fleeing the Blight landed on a planet of non-spacefaring sophonts, soon reduced to only two children unaware of the secret their cargo vessel was carrying. In the middle section of the novel there is a slow motion voyage to bring the two plotlines together and at the end an action section to show how both groups manage to solve the desperate situations in which they were enmeshed. This is a book with big ambitions which influenced other authors to produced their own big concept books.

I enjoyed the worldbuilding in the …

reviewed A fire upon the deep by Vernor Vinge (Zones of thought series)

A Masterpiece of Science Fiction

5 stars

This is a masterpiece of a book, deservedly considered a classic. It starts with a group of human scientists re-awakening an AI, but everything goes pear-shaped very quickly. From there two plot lines proceed in parallel, one concerning a family from the group that worked on the AI, the other concerning a group of mixed human and alien beings that are trying to deal with the menace unleashed on the galaxy by this AI. The greatest fascination of this novel is the alien races. They are very disctinctly different, but Vinge makes them believable at the same time. The plot line of the escaped family takes them to a world inhabited by beings with group consciousness. They are like small mammals, but an individual of this species is not even conscious or intelligent. It is only when they they join together in groups of 5-8 that they become intelligent entities. …

Review of 'A Fire Upon The Deep' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Published in the early 90s, A Fire Upon the Deep is a solid SF story with two strong elements: firstly a unique cosmology which posits different zones of thinking and technological ability possible in distinct geographic areas of the galaxy, and secondly its portrayal of an alien species that forms identity when it reaches a critical mass of individual minds joining together in a pack. Both ideas are ably and entertainingly expounded by Vinge as background to a galaxy-spanning adventure story with high stakes for our heroes. It's good, solid science fictional fun even if the middle section drags a little and the human characterisation seems a bit two-dimensional.

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Subjects

  • Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction - General
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Science Fiction
  • Fiction / Science Fiction / General